ZAMBIA is capable of holding free and fair elections which are violence-free this year as long as party leaders do not incite their cadres to resort to physical confrontation each time they feel offended, the Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) has observed.
Party president Wright Musoma told the Daily Nation that despite some political parties issuing alarming statements that there will be bloodshed this year when the country goes to the polls, party leaders had a critical role to play in ensuring that peace prevailed in Zambia.
Mr. Musoma lambasted some political parties which were allegedly making bogus statements that there will be widespread violence in this year’s election because they were the ones agitating for violence and not the cadres.
He said party cadres were obedient party members and blaming them for violence was failure to recognise where the problem was stemming from as they could not act on their own unless they were given orders to execute by top leadership.
He said the calibre of cadres in any given political party was a reflection of the leadership of what the party stood for.
“Those political parties which are anticipating violence in 2016 are the ones which are planning for the same and these are the people who should be condemned and not the cadres because a cadre cannot buy pangas or guns to attack people from the other parties.
“It is very sad that some leaders are even saying there will be violence even when they know that they are the ones fanning violence. As ZRP, we believe that Zambia is capable of holding free and fair elections which are violence-free as long as we, the leaders, act responsibly by taming our cadres against violence,” Mr. Musoma said.
He said that cadres have always co-existed among themselves in the areas were they lived despite differences in political affiliations and wondered why the same people that lived in harmony in their compounds would turn against each other during the campaigns.
He said political party leaders should be positive going into the 2016 elections rather than talking about violence long before the campaign period was declared as that had the potential to psyche the cadres into believing that violence was a recipe for winning an election.
“After Michael Sata lost the election in 2006, some people wanted to go for physical confrontation but because he was a man who believed in peace, he told his cadres that he never wanted anyone to lose his life as a result of him losing an election and they obeyed and allowed Levy Mwanawasa to rule.
‘‘This tells you that there is a direct correlation between violence and the top leadership of the party. If leaders tell the cadres to fight, they will definitely fight and this is what we don’t want because it is retrogressive.
‘‘We should come to a point where we give credit to whoever wins an election rather than scheming violence because it does not help anyone,” he said.